When we use the term customer experience we are referring to every aspect of a business because everything a business does will have some kind of impact on the consistency and quality of the eventual experience delivered to customers.
Many of the issues that arise in business on a daily basis are in many cases not seen as a customer experience issues and therefore are addressed in isolation. Some of those issues include
• A lack of sales
A poor or inconsistent customer experience directly impacts customer loyalty and advocacy. Both impact sales.
• Increased competition
We are doing business in a world of sameness. The development of a unique customer experience quickly becomes a businesses sustainable competitive advantage and allows a business to stand out from the crowd.
• Pressure on price
Research clearly shows that customers will pay more for a consistent quality customer experience
• High employee disengagement
There is clear evidence that a customer focused business culture increases employee engagement. A customer experience strategy is based around the fact that –“your people support what they create”
• High Staff Turnover
High staff turnover is a significant cost to a business both in terms of recruitment and training as well as the impact it can have on a consistent customer experience performance and relationships between employees and customers.
• Low Productivity
Low productivity is directly related to high employee disengagement. NZs productivity is currently near the bottom of the OECD. Creating a customer focused culture increases creative thinking and productivity improvement abilities.
• Increase in customer complaints
Customer complaints are a significant cost to a business not just in terms of time but more importantly the negative word of mouth that results. A consistently delivered customer experience ensures that everyone is continually focusing on the business from the customers’ perspective
• High Customer Churn
Today the customer has all the power. That power is a direct result of the overwhelming choice that is available in just about every industry you care to name. If you are not delivering an experience that at least meets expectations. Your customers have plenty of other options
• A lack of customer loyalty
Customer loyalty is not about Fly Buys and Air points. These are carrots, rewards for a customer’s behavior. Real customer loyalty is about relationships, relationships that focus on a customer as an individual.
• An operational focus
Most businesses have much more of an operational focus than a customer focus. The result is that despite the rhetoric regarding the importance of the customer most decisions are in favour of the business rather than what’s best for the customer.
• Very few customer recommendations
Customer recommendation is the most powerful form of advertising in today’s market. As customers we are increasingly reluctant to recommend a business unless we are completely confident the person we are giving the recommendation will have the same or a better experience than we’ve had. Consistency is a vital part of a customer experience strategy.
Recent research has shown that 61 percent of customers took their business elsewhere due to the quality of the customer experience and many more businesses are under increasing pressure due to reduced margins as they battle it out on price rather than looking for ways to add value.
A 2011 Bloomberg Business week survey revealed that “delivering a great customer experience” has become the new imperative: 80% of the companies polled rated customer experience as a top strategic objective
However, only 20% of these companies believe that they, themselves, are actually doing a good job.
In 2012 business must realise that in a world of excess, uniformity and repetition, people buy experiences, not products or services. When people feel good about their experiences, they will not only return but will tell their friends and many others via social media.